It’s my partner’s fault we divorced
There are a large proportion of clients I meet for the first time who are in a great deal of emotional distress as their partner has left them for someone new. And I approach my role as a legal advisor for clients in that position with compassion first because emotion is a significant driver in the capacity for persons to make rational decisions.
However, when I move on to providing advice about the laws applicable to divorce, and all of the other issues that arise with a separation such as property division, custody, child support and spousal support, the reasons for separation can feel very much “ignored”.
Why? Because it was only until 1975 that divorce was granted only on grounds of fault by your spouse, including infidelity. This changed in 1975 when the Family Law Act was enacted and effectively enabled parties to separate purely on grounds that the marriage had broken down irretrievably. The only evidence required to prove the marriage had broken down irretrievably was that the parties had been separated for 12 months, and private investigators were no longer engaged to find evidence of fault.
With the issue of fault removed, the Family Law Act also introduced principles of:
- “justice and equity” for property division, meaning there is no 50/50 principle, but rather a consideration of various factors to ensure both parties are left with a reasonable standard of living relevant to their particular circumstances; and
- “the best interests of the children” in custody disputes, focussing on the rights of the children, and the responsibilities of their parents.
Family law principles are complex but designed to ensure that there is no “one size fits all” approach to the diverse range of families in our society.
If you or someone you know needs advice about their particular circumstances, the family law specialists at Catton & Tondelstrand Lawyers can help. Contact us today for an obligation-free consultation.